Give and Go
By Erie Times-News Sports Erie Times-New staff bloggers
The Erie Times-News sports staff delivers in-depth coverage of the Erie BayHawks and pro and college basketball   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1700
Posted: October 30th, 2012
Welcome Back: 2012-13 NBA Preview

With his first ring finally tucked away, LeBron James is back to earn another one.AP Photo.

This might be the most anticipated NBA season since Michael Jordan played his first full season with the Chicago Bulls after playing baseball.

So many storylines.

So many players.

So let’s get it on.

Fab 5 (Favorites to win it all)

1. Miami Heat. LeBron James finally got his ring last season in leading the Heat to an NBA title. With Dwyane Wade being healthier than ever and Chris Bosh finally learning how to play with the two superstars, Miami is poised to win a second straight title in 2012-13.

Mike Brown should get the Lakers to the NBA Finals now because he might not get a shot to do so later./AP Photo

2. Los Angeles Lakers. How lucky is Mike Brown? He coached James in Cleveland, got fired, was hired by the Lakers and is now coaching Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard?

Brown has to get them to the finals or else.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder. Trading away James Harden to Houston is going to hurt, but the Thunder have two of the NBA’s top five players in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. If OKC finds that third scorer, it’ll be back in the finals.

4. Boston Celtics. They’re not “too old” anymore. Ray Allen is in Miami. Jason Terry is in Boston. Jeff Green is back. Still got Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Doc Rivers is a great coach, but it’s all on Rajon Rondo. The Celtics will go as far as he takes them.

5. San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs had the NBA’s best record in 2010-11 only to lose to Memphis in the first round. Last season, they had the best record in the Western Conference, but fell to Oklahoma City. Still a great team, but is this their last hurrah?

Blake Griffin may have benefitted the most from playing with Chris Paul last season./AP

4 zzzz (Don’t sleep on them)

1. Los Angeles Clippers. Didn’t realize how much of a difference Chris Paul was going to make there. The question is can they seriously compete with the Lakers, Spurs and Thunder.

2. Memphis Grizzlies. This might be the NBA’s deepest team next to Denver. Last year’s first-round playoff exit will fuel the prideful Grizzlies.

3. Indiana Pacers. The Heat should thank the Pacers for getting them in the right frame of mind to win it all. If Indiana can build off that series loss, it might face Miami again in the playoffs.

4. Denver Nuggets. Andre Iguodala is an ideal fit in Denver because he excels in the open court. With Ty Lawson pushing the ball, the Nuggets will score, but can they stop anybody?

3 & out (Their time is up)

1. Atlanta Hawks. Talented, but underachieving, the Hawks are good enough to make the playoffs, but haven’t done any serious damage in it. Don’t see that changing now.

2. Chicago Bulls. They’re starting the season minus Derrick Rose, who’s recovering from a serious knee injury. While their defense will remain stout, the Bulls won’t make the playoffs.

3. Orlando Magic. Good luck in the draft lottery.

2 rookies (Will do their thing)

1. Anthony Davis. The top pick in the 2012 draft out of  Kentucky will make an immediate impact on defense for the  New Orleans Hornets.

2. Damian Lillard. The Weber State product averaged  16.2 points for the Portland Trail Blazers to lead all rookies in scoring in the preseason.

1 final word

Dear David Stern. Thanks for helping make the NBA what it is today.

– Duane Rankin

Posted in: NBA, New York Knicks
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